EchoStar Mobile has announced an early adopter program for the pan-European satellite-based LoRa (long range) IoT service, as well as a whitepaper outlining the benefits of massive IoT, in a move that the mobile satellite services provider confidently predicts will unlock massive internet of things (IoT) capability across Europe.
The LoRa Alliance is a non-profit organisation whose members work together to promote and advance the LoRaWAN standard as the premier open worldwide standard for secure, carrier-grade IoT LPWAN connection. LoRaWAN is designed to bridge terrestrial networks with worldwide satellite connectivity to offer low-power ubiquitous connectivity to fill the gap in IoT use cases using unlicensed frequency bands to transmit data over a far longer range than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It is described as intrinsically affordable and simple to install.
LoRaWAN has already been deployed by major mobile network operators throughout the world, with continued extensive expansion in 2022 and beyond. It offers the technical flexibility to suit a broad range of IoT applications, both static and mobile, and a certification scheme to ensure compatibility.
LoRa is a low-power networking protocol that is suitable for linking battery-powered devices; nevertheless, it has only been used to receive data from stationary devices in places with terrestrial access until now. The EchoStar Mobile LoRa solution uses the company’s licenced S-band spectrum and capacity on the EchoStar XXI geostationary satellite with a LoRa-enabled module that plugs easily into IoT devices to allow sensors to travel freely in real-time while sending and receiving information. The module features the small LR1120 chipset from Semtech, making it portable and capable of travelling anywhere within the satellite footprint, which encompasses the European continent. It is compatible with terrestrial ISM-band LoRaWAN networks.
EchoStar’s program, which is looking for practical applications of the standard, will allow participants in industries like transportation and logistics, agriculture, oil and gas, and utilities to test a satellite-enabled connectivity solution that uses the LoRa low-power protocol for connecting “things” to the internet. Satellite-based LoRa enables Europe-wide IoT analyses use examples and how space-based connectivity can help streamline, automate, and optimise IoT networks.
In a world of increasing change, EchoStar sees big data as the new money. The ability to collect, process, and manage data quickly is critical for optimising industrial processes and transforming society via innovation, whether it’s enabling the growth of smart cities or the move to renewable energy. Accessing data from thousands of devices, factories, or distribution facilities, no matter how far away, and bringing it to a single place for analysis and insight is key to realising the full potential of IoT.
“LoRa connectivity makes up 45% of today’s global IoT networks; it’s perfect for connecting low-powered ‘things’, yet its reliance on terrestrial connectivity restricts its usefulness,” explained EchoStar Mobile vice-president and general manager Telemaco Melia.
“Replacing fibre and cable with satellite connectivity, the EchoStar Mobile solution is the first real-time, bi-directional LoRa service with mobile and remote capabilities. Accelerating the adoption of massive IoT, our programme already spans more than 10,000 devices, with the service expected to scale to millions of devices in Europe alone. The EchoStar Mobile satellite-enabled LoRa network enables industries to use IoT in innovative ways that can transform their operations,” added Melia.